I was delighted and honored to be invited to a hunt for veterans hosted by Texas Deer Association, Record Rack, Valdina Ranch and country music singer Craig Morgan. Props to them for giving back to veterans who sacrifice so much for our freedom.
During the hunt I met Kenny Fahndrich from Medford, Oregon. Kenny was a Navy Task Force veteran selected to harvest a native Texas deer on Valdina Ranch.
Each veteran was allowed to bring one guest. Kenny brought his younger brother Blake. I was impressed by the bond these brothers shared. When they weren’t interrupting each other to talk crap about each other, they were finishing each other’s sentences.
We started discussing Trump, Oregon gun laws and my firmly-held, alternative fact-based belief that Texans 0wn more guns per person than any one else in the country.
During our chat, Kenny related an experience he’d had during the birth of his youngest daughter.
He was deployed in Afghanistan when his wife went into labor. His brother was in the delivery room to live stream the event for his brother. Kenny watched the birth of his daughter from a designated video chat room with semi-private booths.
His wife was screaming. “Everyone in the room, which was a very small room, left their video chats to see what the hell my wife was doing for me on the live chat” he said, laughing.
His brother halfway passed out from the sight of blood and parts of a woman he wasn’t yet ready to see. And then he proudly held his niece for the first time, in his brother’s stead. He cut the umbilical chord.
Now that Kenny’s back, the Fahndrich brothers reconnect by hunting, fishing and teaching his little girl to shoot guns (of course).
Hunting is ideal therapy for vets. It takes them away from their day-to-day stress, focuses their mind on a mission, and puts them back in touch with something . . . elemental.
When groups of vets hunt together, they share more than they would in a VA hospital. And, in some cases, their own homes. I salute those organizations that have made this realization, and enable healing through hunting.
Kenny harvested his largest Whitetail buck to date. He may have taken something else with him too: an understanding this his mission to make a better world for himself and his family is far from over.